ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox manager John Farrell was enthused when nearly the entire team showed up for a voluntary workout at Angel Stadium on Thursday afternoon. He took it as a sign the players were eager to get started after the All-Star break.
Good intentions have not translated into good results against the Los Angeles Angels. The Sox were shut down again on Saturday night, falling 3-0.
A day after a 1-0 loss, the Sox did not come close to scoring against Garrett Richards, who allowed two hits for his second career shutout.
Both hits were by Pablo Sandoval. The first was an infield single in the second inning that deflected off Richards and the second a broken-bat double down the line in left field in the fifth inning.
“Seems like those four days off kind of affected pretty much everybody around here,” David Ortiz said.
Richards (10-6) retired the final 15 batters he faced and 22 of the last 23. The righthander was at 97-98 miles per hour with his four-seam fastball, hit 97 with a cut fastball, and was able to throw two different breaking pitches for strikes.
Richards walked one, struck out six and threw 79 of 113 pitches for strikes.
“He filled the zone up with power stuff . . . He beat us consistently in the strike zone,” Sox manager John Farrell said.
The Sox have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since Aug 7-8, 2009 against the Yankees. They are 7 of 60 (.117) in the first two games of the series, advancing one runner as far as third base.
In the 24 games leading up to the break, the Sox averaged 5.3 runs and hit .283. Now they face All-Star lefthander Hector Santiago on Sunday night.
The 42-49 Red Sox have lost three straight and four of their last five. As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, they are showing few signs of being worthy of reinforcements.
“We’ve got to come back and play the game [Sunday],” Ortiz said. “We just came out of the break and the break, it can go both ways. It can be good or it can be bad. Hopefully things change.”
Kole Calhoun homered twice off Rick Porcello, giving Richards all the run support he needed. Porcello (5-10) allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Porcello needed 102 pitches to get through the five innings.
“A lot of deep counts, a lot of pitches thrown, a slower pace than we’ve seen,” Farrell said.
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in a second inning that was a mess for the Sox.
With two outs and a runner on first base, Porcello walked Matt Joyce, a .190 hitter. Carlos Perez then reached on an error by Sandoval at third base.
Sandoval has 11 errors, as many as he had all season for the San Francisco Giants. A wild pitch, Porcello’s eighth already this season, allowed David Freese to score from third.
Calhoun hit solo home runs in the third and fifth inning, both to right center field. The first was on a 3-and-1 fastball, the second on an 2-and-0 fastball.
“I was falling behind in the count,” Porcello said. “Obviously with the guys coming up behind him [Mike Trout and Albert Pujols] I didn’t want to walk him. I was trying to execute sinkers down and away.”
Home runs have been a problem for Porcello, who has allowed 18 in 105⅔ innings. His career high of 23 came as a rookie in 2009 when he threw 170⅔ innings. Porcello has not allowed more than 18 home runs since.
Perhaps there is some hope for Porcello, however. In his last two starts, both with Ryan Hanigan catching, he has allowed four earned runs over 11 innings.
“Just making better pitches, that’s the bottom line,” Porcello said. “Not getting beat on off-speed stuff up in the zone.”
Porcello has a 3.60 earned run average in the five games Hanigan has caught him, 6.66 in the 13 games either Blake Swihart or Sandy Leon caught.
Richards retired the first five batters before Sandoval singled and Alejando De Aza walked. Brock Holt, playing first base in place of slumping Mike Napoli, struck out looking to end the inning.
The Sox did not put another runner on base until the fifth inning when Sandoval reached on a double.
De Aza struck out after trying to bunt. Holt grounded out and Sandoval went to third. Hanigan grounded out, his ball up the middle deflecting off Richards and going right to second baseman Johnny Giavotella.